Former Police Chief Posts $10,000 Bond, Is Released From Jail

ASHLAND, Ohio (AP) - The county prosecutor said he expects to file additional charges against the former Perrysville police chief, who was fired for staging a traffic stop to cover up an accidental shooting.

Ashland County Prosecutor Robert DeSanto said Wednesday that his office and the sheriff's department are investigating Tim Sommer's tenure as police chief. DeSanto expects to take additional charges to the grand jury April 24.

"There may be more serious charges coming. The defendant knows that. We're looking at what may be irregularities there," said DeSanto, who declined to elaborate.

Sommer was fired Monday by Perrysville's village council and arrested Tuesday on a charge of filing a false report. On Wednesday, Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Runyon set a $10,000 bond for Sommer and scheduled a preliminary hearing for April 10.

Sommer, who was being held in the Huron County Jail, posted bond Thursday afternoon.

Sommer, 52, admitted to investigators that he staged a traffic stop March 19 to cover up accidentally shooting a hole in the windshield of his cruiser.

Then, Sommer accidentally shot himself in the leg. In a frantic call to dispatchers, the chief said he was shot by a man in a white car that he had stopped for not having license plates.

On the 911 tape, Sommer shouted: "What the hell. Get back."

After a gunshot is heard, Sommer says, "Shots fired. I'm hit."

Filing a false report is a fifth-degree felony with a maximum sentence of a year in prison and a $2,500 fine.

The charge against Sommer could be bumped up to a fourth-degree felony if prosecutors determine the county spent more than $5,000 investigating Sommer's report that he had been shot. A fourth-degree felony carries a maximum penalty of 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Sommer became Perrysville's police chief in December 1999. A decade ago, he received a six-month suspended jail sentence after pleading guilty to using a Morrow County sheriff's department credit card to buy gasoline for personal use while he was a sheriff's deputy.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)